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Double Indemnity
Year:
1944
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Film-Noir
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
Billy Wilder
Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff
Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson
Edward G. Robinson as Barton Keyes
Porter Hall as Mr. Jackson
Jean Heather as Lola Dietrichson
Tom Powers as Mr. Dietrichson
Byron Barr as Nino Zachetti
Richard Gaines as Edward S. Norton, Jr.
Fortunio Bonanova as Sam Garlopis
John Philliber as Joe Peters
George Anderson as Warden at Execution (scenes deleted)
Al Bridge as Execution Chamber Guard (scenes deleted)
Edward Hearn as Warden's Secretary (scenes deleted)
Boyd Irwin as First Doctor at Execution (scenes deleted)
George Melford as Second Doctor at Execution (scenes deleted)
William O'Leary as Chaplain at Execution (scenes deleted)
Storyline: In 1938, Walter Neff, an experienced salesman of the Pacific All Risk Insurance Co., meets the seductive wife of one of his clients, Phyllis Dietrichson, and they have an affair. Phyllis proposes to kill her husband to receive the proceeds of an accident insurance policy and Walter devises a scheme to receive twice the amount based on a double indemnity clause. When Mr. Dietrichson is found dead on a train-track, the police accept the determination of accidental death. However, the insurance analyst and Walter's best friend Barton Keyes does not buy the story and suspects that Phyllis has murdered her husband with the help of another man.
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HQ DVD-rip 640x480 px 1451 Mb mpeg4 1735 Kbps avi Download
iPhone 320x240 px 176 Mb h264 239 Kbps mp4 Download
Reviews
Sharp. Really sharp.
This is a dynamite piece of filmmaking by Billy Wilder. Wilder is in my opinion a very underrated director, much like John Houston. The acting is in top form from all of the players. The cinematography is crisp, and beautiful. The sound is nice and clear, and the direction is arguably some of Wilder's best. However, the real star is the screenplay. First off, it was taken from excellent source material. James Cain is always great for a story where nobody wins out. Check out The Postman Always Rings Twice for an example. But it is Chandler who I think really put this one on the map. Chandler has a way with dialogue that makes it all ring in your ears. The lines are smooth, and the characters always say something that makes me wish I could be that clever and smooth in everyday situations. Chandler knows dialogue, Chandler knows LA, and Chandler knows how to deliver a story. Check out any of his novels, and you will see this. This is a teamup that I really wish would have happened again. Oh well. If you don't mind voice over narration, then this is a film for you.
2004-02-26
Double Pleasure
This set the bar for film noir. Good story, acting superb, direction and memorable scenes with good dialog make this a ten. Add three strong stars and a committed cast and we are in the world of high level entertainment. They certainly don't make them like this anymore. I loved how you get the feel of what life was like back then captured so easily making us see the generation of its time and how they thought and acted. There is a scene where Walter tells Keyes to ask for matches when he buys his cigars because he is constantly lighting one for him. Keys responds, I don't like carrying them in my pocket because they go off. What many don't know is that the chemical needed to create the light was included on the tip thus striking it anywhere worked. Today, that chemical is separated from the match requiring a strike source. Who would know this unless it was explained? Other references to eating at a drugstore, catching a movie for the hell of it and living in an apartment that supplies car washes. Look for these and more as they are informative. Watch this with a sandwich, tasty drink and a favorite nibble snack. NO cell phones or bathroom runs. Pay attention and be entertained
2016-01-14
Brilliant, Absolutely Brilliant,right to the very end....
If you haven't seen this movie yet, go out and buy it or rent it, you will not be disappointed. If you don't know much about movies and need to learn what movie Buffs consider as some of the best Movie classics of all time, then look no further then these, Double Indemnity,Citizen Kane,Sunset Boulevard,Out of the Past,Criss Cross,The Asphalt Jungle,Vertigo,Witness for the Prosecution,North by Northwest,Gaslight,The Good,the Bad and the Ugly,Cape Fear and All About Eve. Double Indemnity is the King of all 1940's crime melodramas, told in a flashback style. A urban crime dramas in which a greedy, weak man, Fred MacMurry, is seduced and trapped by a cold, evil woman. Phyllis Dietrichson, Barbara Stanwyck, seduces the insurance agent Walter Neff Fred MacMurray into murdering her husband to collect his accident policy. Of course things turn out differently and things are not all as they seem. Chilling ending to an unforgettable movie.
2004-10-12
Anytime You Want A Husband Turned Into Cold Cash
Billy Wilder's cynical self came to public attention in this classic noir film about a luckless insurance salesman and one coldhearted dame. Double Indemnity skirted the very edges of Code morality and it took years before someone brought James M. Cain's novel to the screen.

According to a book on Billy Wilder the casting of Barbara Stanwyck was a must for Phyllis Dietrichson, otherwise the film might never have been made. Barbara Stanwyck was that rarest of players, one who could be good and convincing in all kinds of parts. Look at the films she got her four Oscar nominations besides Double Indemnity, Stella Dallas, Ball of Fire, and Sorry Wrong Number. Not one of those is similar to any one of the others and Stanwyck was acclaimed in all of them.

Fortunately for Wilder and for Paramount's budget, their leading man was right on the lot. Fred MacMurray who has been playing comedic foils for folks like Carole Lombard, Claudette Colbert, etc. up to that time, made the most of playing the feckless Walter Neff who gets sucked into a homicidal scheme through passion.

Double Indemnity is a landmark film in that it's two leads are really rotten people. Barbara Stanwyck has a husband in Tom Powers she can't stand and would like to bump him off for an insurance settlement and MacMurray's the insurance salesman she beguiles into her plot. Funny thing is that when the mechanics of the murder plot are discussed and formulated, the ideas are all MacMurray's.

Billy Wilder made two other films similar to Double Indemnity where a weak protagonist gets caught up in a filthy scheme. In Sunset Boulevard William Holden plays the gigolo way to well and can't break from unto pain of death. And Kirk Douglas's scheme about exploiting the tragedy of a man trapped in a cave brings him down all the way in Ace in the Hole. I'd be hard pressed to say which of the three men was worse.

The man who brings them down is Edward G. Robinson, the claims investigator in the insurance office where MacMurray works. Robinson is gradually putting the whole thing together and Wilder is at his best with the scenes of Robinson explaining the progress of his investigation to MacMurray with Fred trying to stay one step ahead.

Robinson doesn't usually get enough praise for Double Indemnity. He's got a little man, Hercule Poirot has those little grey cells. Either way both are up to the challenge of solving what looks like a perfect crime. Lot's of Agatha Christie's Belgian sleuth in James M. Cain's Barton Keyes.

Wilder for the one and only time in his career worked with another great mystery writer in Raymond Chandler on the script. It was not a pleasant experience for either. Chandler complained about the working conditions of Hollywood and Wilder complained about Chandler's dissipation. Both were probably right.

Among the supporting cast look for a nice performance by Porter Hall who turns out not to be as valuable witness as Robinson originally thought. The man from Medford may not lie, but he's not above a little chiseling.

Double Indemnity is one eternal classic it will be studied and dissected by film students for centuries.
2006-12-16
The sort of film you love to tell people about
Spoilers herein

Double Indemnity is another piece of classic film noir with all the classic elements of mystery, plotting, femme fatales and snappy dialogue. I just finished watching it and I have to say it's possibly the best I've seen.

Not only is it a beautifully and craftily worked noir story but also a complex fable about greed and revenge, remorse and regret. From the moment it starts you know it's going to hit you, and it certainly does.

Fred MacMurray plays insurance salesman Walter Neff, who relates the story to us by leaving a memo for his claims manager Keyes, played by Edward G Robinson. His intermittent voiceovers take the guise not only of the narrator but also of Neff's conscience as he retells the story of his involvement in the murder of his client Dietrichson after he plotted with Dietrichson's wife. They thought it would be the perfect murder, but as Keyes so rightly points out, no murder is perfect. It comes undone sooner or later, and when there's two people involved, usually sooner. Particularly in this case as Mrs Dietrichson and Neff begin to plot against each other. It becomes less about claiming the insurance money and more about which one, if either, gets away with the murder.

As you can tell from my clearly blithering attempt to ruin the plot, it's a fantastic film. You come away from it and you want to ruin the ending for someone else because it's just so exciting. Billy Wilder directs with absolute precision, he blends perfectly the romance, frequent suspense, and dramatic irony dispersed throughout the film in absolute drones. The fact that Neff is present in all but one of the scenes in the film is a constant reminder of the irony of the story, the fact that he is involved on all sides and in all facets of the plot.

Barbara Stanwyck also plays one of the best femme fatales I've ever seen on screen, it's not only a masterful performance but a masterful character in itself. The success of this film owes a lot to both her performance and the way the script works her in. Fred MacMurray is occasionally overly winsome at the start of the film, however, he definitely pulls his performance together at the end and it is not enough to detract entirely from the overall effect.

A crafty, enjoyable and suspenseful film noir filled with anti-heroes, mystery, morals, and just good all-round entertainment. Not quite perfect but about as close as it can come. ****1/2 / *****
2003-09-23
Didn't Get The Money. Didn't Get The Girl.
*Possible Spoilers!*

Released in 1944 - Double Indemnity's story of vicious betrayal may be somewhat flawed and inconsistent - And, its 3 principal actors may have been miscast (especially Barbara Stanwyck as the deceitfully wicked femme fatale in a really cheap-looking wig) - But, overall, it's quite easy to see why this vintage, Hollywood Crime/Drama is considered to be a true "classic" of 1940s Film Noir.

Containing plenty of loaded dialog, shadowy settings and frequent flashes of well-timed tension, Double Indemnity's story of murder and deception comes together quite nicely like that of a master jigsaw puzzle where all of the scattered pieces of its plot-line eventually become one.

Even though I view Double Indemnity as essentially a "Chick Flick", its story is told (chiefly in long flashbacks) by a man who was directly involved in this double-crossing crime-of-passion that went seriously haywire.

Fred MacMurray plays Walter Neff, an over-confident, yet naively gullible insurance salesman, who, thinking that he's got it all figured out, gets played for an all-time sucker when the seductive, well-to-do Mrs. Dietrichson snares him into a diabolical plot to kill her husband in order to collect $100,000 through the double indemnity clause in his life insurance policy.

Needless to say, once Neff gets himself completely tangled up in a web of establishing alibis (while setting the wheels of the "perfect" crime into motion), things literally begin to come apart at the seams once he inadvertently learns about the treacherous activities (both past and present) of the calculating and conniving Mrs. Dietrichson.

Filmed in glossy b&w, Double Indemnity's story was co-written by the famed crime-novelist, Raymond Chandler. It was directed by Billy Wilder, known for such other notable films as - Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, The Seven Year Itch, and Some Like It Hot.
2013-10-22
Ture Noir Film
Paramount Studio's 1944 release Double Indemnity is one of the best examples of true-to-form film noir. The plot of the film is straightforward. Fueled by greed, a wife decides to take out an insurance policy on her unsuspecting husband, with plans of murdering him for the proceeds. The policy contains a double indemnity clause, which will pay twice the policy amount in the event of death by accident. To make her plan succeed, she enlists the help of an accomplice to help murder her spouse and make it seem accidental.

Adapted from a novel by James M. Cain, Double Indemnity is loosely based on the real-life Snyder-Gray murder case of 1927, in which a New York housewife persuaded her young lover to commit murder. The woman had taken out a double indemnity life insurance policy on her husband without his knowledge. The murder succeeded but the killers were caught and executed the following year. Just as actual events influenced the making of this film, Double Indemnity has influenced numerous movies based on the same premise, the most notable of which are 1946's The Postman Always Rings Twice and 1981's Body Heat.

The film stars Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff, a fast-talking insurance salesman, attempting to pull the perfect fraud job. It is Fred MacMurray who is narratting the film. Of course he didn't start out with that idea - it all stated when he met, and immediately fell for, Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck). From there the tale she spins of her unhappy marriage, complicated by a tempestuous relationship with stepdaughter Lola, takes him on the slippery slope to crime. With his extensive knowledge of the insurance business, nothing can stop Walter from covering his tracks ingeniously… except the analytical skills of his friend, the fraud investigator Barton Keyes.

Frequently told in flashbacks, this movie is utterly compelling from the word go. It's interesting to ponder whether this film could have had the same impact if it had been shot in colour - but I don't think so. The filming is spot on, the camera angles, use of shadow and perspectives on the actors all add to the tension of the film. The screen does sometimes get so dark as to be impossible to tell what's going on in a couple of scenes, but this is done deliberately so as to add to the suspense.

The film is very wordy, as so many films of the era were and the dialogue is often brilliant. Billy Wilder's direction is another part of the key to this film's being in the IMDb Top 250 Movies of All Time list and also features in the Top 50 among the IMDb Film Noir list in fact at # 3 when I last saw it. There are moments of humour to lighten the mood and scenes of compelling drama / intrigue / emotion. With the excellent acting, awesome script and breathtaking art direction / cinematography it makes one of the best films of all time in a lot of peoples' list - including mine.

In case you didn't know (I didn't), the term "Double Indemnity" refers to an insurance clause where a double payment is handed out if someone whose life is insured dies in an unusual manner. Theoretically of course the chances of this happening are remote, meaning little danger of them ever having to pay it out… and cases when someone has died in this manner shortly after taking out a life insurance policy would automatically be viewed as suspicious. The way Walter covers his tracks, and the way Barton uncovers them, are quite brilliant and show (to a layman at least) a deep knowledge of the insurance business.

Double Indemnity was nominated for no less that seven Oscars; sadly it didn't win a single one. But from 1944, it's popularity has increased year after year and when you talk of noir movies DOuble Indemnity instantly come to ones mind.
2009-03-06
Honeysuckle and murder
I teach critical viewing of film in high school and since this is the best film noir ever made, I showed it in the fall of 2005 to my classes, only to be met with universal hatred and scorn. Nothing about the film pleased and I was rather disheartened. Later in the year, however, several kids said that they think they probably couldn't appreciate it that early in the course and suggested that I save it for later in the year.

So, I showed it in spring of 2007 and got a completely different reaction! The kids loved it and several were rather bowled over by the use of light and shadow and how it contributed to the over-all tone of the film. I also had by this time a really good documentary to show with it that gave good insights into the making of the film which I think helped as well.

Anyway, my hope in the ultimate taste of the adolescent restored, this film will remain a late entry in my syllabus.
2007-07-09
A prime example of film noir and the rare genius of Wilder
When we think of film noir, we think of a corrupt and glamorous world of gangsters, cigarettes and femme fatals. We think of shadows of venetian blinds and wide angle close ups. Double Indemnity is one of the best and most known examples of this genre. Billy Wilder is an absolute genius, his stories always unfolding at the right pace, and his way of bringing them to the screen barely ever impeccable.

This is the forties cinema. A story of love and betrayal, of manipulation and big money. The story of femme fatal Barbra Stanwick luring poor insurance salesman Walter Niff to kill her husband so they can be together. Stanwick has what it takes to make her character look sexually dangerous and desirable. Niff has the ways and traits to make his character look like a stylish fool. But as far as acting is concerned, both are surpassed by the wonderful Edward G. Robinson, who is extraordinary delivering lines faster than MacMurray can say "shut up, baby".

This sort of cinema will never age. It will always find a point of relation to today's society. And when it's directed in such a beautiful way, it's little wonder that the noir is so loved and remembered. The mise sn scene is beautiful. MacMurray's and Stanwyck's character are never really portrayed close. Even when they kiss, they are always shot at an awkward angle. When they are in the same frame, Wilder always makes sure that there's something in the way, whether it's a mother and a child in a supermarket, or a fish tank in the study room of the man whose murder is being secretly plotted. This murder plot reaches its height of tension when MacMurray lures Stanwyck's husband to sign a life insurance, as he thinks he is signing an ordinary car one. He is in fact signing his life away.

As in too many noirs, though, it pitfalls into the use of voice over. That is forgiven because from the start we know that he is telling Edward G. Robinson the story, speaking into the voice recorder, confessing his crime of passion. It is a film of which we know the ending already. In fact, one of the most interesting things about the film is the way we observe the main character, and the way that we back him up sometimes, only to change our minds other times. Almost every scene is necessary to make up our minds, when really the only good guy is Robinson in the whole movie.

WATCH FOR THE MOMENT - When the murder plot is put in act, from the arrival to the station, to when the car won't start...
2009-01-28
Brilliant is a small word.
Words will not define the things that I achieved by viewing this film. The fascinating part that comes into my mind before going further is the extraordinary narrative that binds you physically as well as mentally. The film follows the journey of a sales person of an insurance company who gets into a number of events which made the whole film. It is a mix of attraction, cheating and surprises.

PROS:

Without a fascinating story, the film would not have been this better, so most of the credit I would give to it. Then I liked the narration which was because of the actor's firm voice. The acting is superb by all the actors. The story starts with a very fast pace from the starting itself and maintained this till the end which was beautiful. The different instances in the film are shown so properly that you would not feel that it is from the forties.

CONS:

Found the film absolutely perfect.

MESSAGE: "You can't escape longer."

VERDICT: "A must watch for anyone."
2012-08-05
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